New York Giants head coach Judge said on Monday that the organization expects Daniel Jones to make a full recovery and face no long-term issues from the neck sprain that ended his 2021 season. Judge also said he plans to go forward with Jones as the team’s quarterback in 2022.
If Judge returns, and it seems like he will, is that the right plan? We opened up the ‘Big Blue View Round Table’ to discuss that topic.
Here is how the question was phrased for our contributors:
“Joe Judge said Monday he has seen enough to go forward with Daniel Jones as the team’s QB next year. Is that the right decision? Why or why not?”
Read on for how our writers answered the question, and vote in the poll at the bottom of the post to register your opinion.
I do not agree with Judge’s decision.
I understand the counter-arguments: three offensive coordinators in three years, injury prone pieces on the offense and an at-time brutal offensive line. Jones seems like a great teammate and he can clearly produce at times. But Jones just doesn’t have that “it” factor as a passer for me. It feels like his career trajectory will be similar to a Marcus Mariota, a sort of “starter/ backup hybrid” guy who is capable of starting games, but is probably more effective as a strong backup.
Jones will be entering the final year of his four-year, $25.6 million rookie contract, set to count $8.3 million on the 2022 salary cap. The Giants have until May to pick up the fifth-year option for 2023 that would eat up around $21 million on that year’s cap.
I’d like to see the Giants bring in another starting-caliber quarterback to challenge him next year. I know this would go against modern NFL ethos, which says you do not bring in competition for the former sixth overall pick who you already invested significant capital in. But I think I’ve seen enough.
In all likelihood, Daniel Jones is the Week 1 starter for the New York Giants to being the 2022 season.
The bigger question is whether he is the Week 18 starter. Or for that matter, the Week 4 starter.
Jones, and other quarterbacks in similar situations around the league, might get the benefit of the doubt to begin the 2022 season due to the incoming rookie draft class. Now, teams with the resources might be able to take a wild swing at a Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers type of move, but the Giants are not in such a position for such a move. When studying the incoming rookie class, there are prospects that are appealing, but nobody really jumps out as a player ready to start Week 1 as a rookie, let alone the kind of “can’t miss” prospects we have seen in recent years.
So, Jones might end up the Week 1 starter. Again, how long does he retain the job is the question I am wondering about.
Because while there have been strides and there are examples of positive development that you can point to to perhaps feel better about that prospect, we are also seeing some of the same mistakes, and seeing some of the same issues, as his third NFL season draws to a close. Inconsistency reading the field, inconsistency throwing with anticipation, inconsistency with reads and decisions. Frankly, inconsistency period.
Maybe the next offensive coordinator fixes these issues. Maybe another NFL season gives him the time to iron those flaws out. Maybe a fresh start with new faces on the coaching staff can unlock the quarterback inside Jones.
Or maybe there is a new face under center come next Halloween.
I think Daniel Jones is an option for next season, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s THE option. Jones hasn’t earned a guaranteed season as the starter of the New York Giants in 2022.
Jones did a better job maneuvering the pocket in 2022, and he shows positive signs of development. He flashes and takes two steps forward, but then takes a big step backwards when he attempts to do too much, like in the Rams and Buccaneers games. He can play in this league, but is a primary reason the Giants will win? That’s the big question.
Jones doesn’t have the upside of other young quarterbacks around the NFL. In the perfect environment, he can win football games. His athletic ability has to be a recipe for the winning, but his inability to stay healthy has plagued him in all three of his seasons.
New York’s decision on Jones’ fifth-year option must be made in early May. I hope the Giants have more clarity on their, and Jones’, situation by that point. I am not opposed at looking into established quarterbacks like Russell Wilson. The quickest fix out of destitute and mediocrity is a significant upgrade to the quarterback.
However, I am not opposed to bringing Jones back for another kick at the can. I just believe all options should be open and the Giants shouldn’t go into this situation with a rigid mindset. Jones hasn’t earned a guarantee, but if Wilson’s cost is too steep, then his retention is fine by me - just please find a better backup than Mike Glennon.
There’s a couple different levels to Judge’s statement.
I’ll start with the top-level and really, what is Judge supposed to say? I firmly believe that Judge’s prime directive right now is just to keep the locker room from fracturing. So far he’s done that — at least as far as we can tell. It’s striking to me how similar 2021 has been to 2017. Both teams entered the year with sky-high expectations, only to find whole position groups wiped out by injury, the team sunk by pitiful offensive performances, and generally miserable play on the field.
The difference has really been the response of the head coach. Ben McAdoo (then Benny with The Good Hair) committed the cardinal sin of criticizing his players in public. The defense, in particular, felt thrown under the bus, and internal frustrations boiled over into the public sphere. It was clear by the time McAdoo was fired amid the furry surrounding Eli Manning’s benching that the locker room had been lost.
So far, Joe Judge has avoided that. Much to fans’ chagrin, he has been almost comically complimentary of his players. Judge talking about being tough and getting “The Right Guys” while the team loses by double-digits obviously rubs fans the wrong way, but again: What is he supposed to say?
Judge is at least smart and savvy enough to not feed the New York Media (and fanbase) the red meat of a quarterback controversy — or force his players to answer the ensuing questions.
Now, on to the real question about Jones. Is he the guy, and provided the plan really is to stand by him, is that the right decision?
Circumstances might dictate that the Giants have no other choice. They can’t afford a veteran like Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers, and while this year’s quarterbacks have intriguing traits, I’m not sure any are clean enough to use a Top 10 pick on.
But that also doesn’t mean that Jones is The Guy by default. He has yet to live up to the sixth-overall pick, and after three years we’re still seeing a lot of the same problems I saw from him as a prospect. He throws a pretty deep ball, but his accuracy, precision, and placement are inconsistent at best (how often have we seen a players have to take passes away from DBs, lay out parallel to the ground, or make circus catches at the very limit of their catch radii?) Jones can still get hung up on reads, stare down receivers, and force passes into windows he just shouldn’t test. And now he’s missed significant time each season dating back to his final year at Duke.
He is who he is at this point.
And frankly, we’ve been seeing a lot of the same handwaving to dismiss concerns since his time at Duke as well. Jones doesn’t have enough talent around him, his receivers let him down, the scheme isn’t good enough, etc.
He’s on his third offensive coordinator, and third offensive cast. How can none of them be right?
The Giants might have to rely on Jones out of necessity next year, but I’ve seen enough to say that they should be looking hard at their options for quarterback.
I’m just going to finish by leaving what might be Dave Gettleman’s most prescient and insightful statement as the Giants’ GM (from 1/29/2018):
“If you take a guy just to take a guy, especially at the quarterback position, and he fails, you set yourself back five years,” Gettleman told reporters at the Senior Bowl last week. “You set yourself back five years because there are teams that are in what I call quarterback hell. They’ve got quality defense, they’ve got a good special teams, and they’re going 7-9, 8-8, 9-7. And now if there is a legitimate guy, they’ve got to trade up and give away the farm to get the guy.”
Daniel Jones is the quarterback the Giants should be moving forward with. The excuses made for him are tired and overused, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t valid.
Jones is never going to be Patrick Mahomes, slinging passes downfield and single-handedly winning games. He will probably never make the ‘Josh-Allen-style-leap’ that analysts were so fond of predicting before this season. But even Mahomes would struggle to lead a team to the playoffs behind an offensive line made up of backups and practice squad players, and to fault Jones for not being able to do so is irrational. What’s more reasonable is expecting something like Ryan Tannehill’s career trajectory, who was labeled a bust before becoming an above-average quarterback once placed in a competent system.
Narratives change quickly in the NFL, and we tend to forget how small a 17-game sample is. Earlier this season, Jones was one of Pro Football Focus’s highest-graded quarterbacks and looked like the sixth-overall pick the Giants drafted. Six or seven games later, he’s not suddenly a different player. That ability should be enough to prevent the Giants from drafting a quarterback outside of a can’t-miss prospect. They should be pouring all their resources into finding offensive linemen and edge rushers.
When Eli Manning finished his third season, as Jones is about to do, many considered him a bust. We all know what happened next year with a dominant defense and excellent offensive line. Obviously I’m not predicting a Giants Super Bowl any time soon, but giving up on Jones now would be premature. We already know this franchise can win without MVP-level quarterback play.
A team that has five straight double-digit loss seasons is, obviously, in need of change. But it is also in need of stability.
For that reason, I say stick with Jones. Not forever, but stick with him for one more season. Jones’ 12-25 career record speaks for itself but there are a lot of other factors involved. The former Blue Devil showed promise as a rookie and any regression since then could be the fault of recently-fired Jason Garrett and the overall inconsistency in the front office. Jones’ $8.3 million cap hit ranks just No. 24 among quarterbacks for 2022, according to Spotrac. When Jones is on - executing deep passes downfield and maintaining mobility in the pocket - he shows the signs of promise that led to the Giants’ decision to draft him in the first place.
I understand the concerns. Jones has missed 10 starts in three seasons due to injury and the turnovers remain an ongoing issue.
The alternatives however, deferring to the draft or executing some big offseason trade, are less appealing than simply sticking with Jones. The quarterback draft class in 2022 is expected to be one of the weakest in years. As far as using their two first-round picks to acquire an elite signal caller in an offseason trade, the Giants have other needs that can be met in the draft. The Giants should focus on drafting mainstay players who can anchor a team. Then, we can actually evaluate Jones’ play when he has consistency on the offensive line and a less injured receiving corps.
I have already answered this question a number of times and in a number of ways. If you have been paying attention, you know where this is going.
I think running it back in 2022 with Daniel Jones as the quarterback is the best move for the Giants. I am not saying Jones should be the quarterback for the next five years. That is to be determined. I am not saying the Giants should definitely pick up his fifth-year option, although I probably would.
I’m saying Jones at quarterback is the best decision for the Giants in 2022. That, truthfully, is the narrow scope within which Judge was discussing Jones, and the narrow scope within which the original question was framed.
Apologies to Kenny Pickett, Matt Corral, Malik Willis and the rest of the quarterback class but I have yet to be convinced any of those quarterbacks actually deserves to be selected in the top 10 of the 2022 NFL Draft. I’m sure at least one will, but there isn’t a slam-dunk “he will definitely be better than Jones” player in the bunch.
A Russell Wilson trade would be nice, but the cost to the Giants in both future and present talent seems prohibitive.
Would you do that if you were the Giants? I don’t think I would. That would leave the Giants without a second-round pick in 2022 or a first-rounder in 2023.
Oh, and you’re inheriting $51 million in total salary for 2022 and 2023 by bringing in Wilson. The Giants are already going to have to jettison players they would probably like to keep in order to get under the cap next season. They would have to cut even deeper to fit his salary under the cap.
How do you field a competitive team if you have to cut that deep, and strip yourself of draft capital? Why would Wilson, who has a no-trade clause, say yes to a deal that would bring him to a team that would likely be worse than the one he would be leaving?
For 2022, the Giants’ best course is to keep Jones, build the roster and then re-assess. Going into the quarterback market in 2023 should they have to makes more sense.
Should Daniel Jones be the Giants’ starting quarterback in 2022?
This poll is closed